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amy pottenger interior designer

I know first hand what it’s like to be running a business while raising kids and cultivating a thriving marriage. It’s a lot.

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Home Organizing to Support Your Goals

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Don’t worry, this post is not another generic January home organizing list of things for your tired self to do more of. You do enough and are enough, and you deserve to have a home that empowers your goals!

This time of year is often one where we look at cleaning out, decluttering, simplifying our homes. Or maybe you’ve been in this process already and stalled out a little over the holidays but the new year is giving you a boost to start up again. I am going to share some tips on creating home systems that can guide you when things get out of hand organizationally- organizing to make life easier, and supporting that organization with easy habits.

True organization is about what happens after the cleanout– you get once again inundated with school papers, outgrown kids clothes and holiday gifts- then what happens?

If, during your time of cleanout/purging things, you are able to give the things you want to keep a home, it will become obvious when something needs to be donated, recycled or given to someone else. If it’s not a practical/do-able system that’s tailored to your life, you and I both know it has no staying power- and what’s the point of that??!

The idea of a completely decluttered home might seem impossible to achieve (decluttering can feel like a full time job at the beginning), but let’s break it down together in do-able chunks in order to create a home with lasting organization.

Your De-Cluttering Mind-set

For many of us, this process feels heavy and hard. Sometimes we’re going through sentimental items, or we just know we have a lot to sift through. As with everything we approach in life, how we’re thinking about it matters.

Take a second to remind yourself why you even want to do this in the first place, why you’d want to add a declutter project to your already full life. How will you feel 6 months from now when you have a cleared out kitchen, when you can open a closet without cringing, when you can easily find your keys?

My goal when decluttering is always to create more ease somewhere else in my life. A little discomfort to create a whole lot of ease later. If you’re familiar with the personal development world, you might have heard the concept of your “future self”. (If you want to learn more about becoming your future self, I suggest reading this!)

I love carrying this concept into your home- how can you design your home to benefit your future self? <spoiler alert: thinking in this way also benefits you NOW, not just in the future!>

How to choose where to start:

I like to start with the room/area that’s bothering me the most! Often these are rooms you use every single day- places in your home that you’re in frequently, or entertaining areas. Or maybe you want to start with a known “dumping ground” area such as a guest bedroom or mudroom space. Whatever it is, pick the space that would matter most to you first.

Overall Strategy:

I am a fan of a simple decluttering method: yes – no- think about it, with a little Marie Kondo wisdom thrown in:

If an item is a “Yes”, it gives you joy or creates a result that is joyful, such as a vacuum that’s unexciting but cleans your floors, and clean floors = joy! Then you’re keeping it. Now ask yourself, where does this live? If you don’t know, you find a place for it and that’s where it always goes.

If an item is a “Maybe” (meaning you just aren’t sure yet if you want to keep it, or maybe it’s an item that belongs to your child who is sentimental about all the things!), then you can give yourself a time limit to check back in (a couple days, weeks, months, whatever feels good to you) and you put it somewhere in storage to see if you miss it. Put a time on your calendar to check back in (with a reminder of the item/where you put it), and if you haven’t thought about it or missed it since you put it away, it could be a “No”!

If an item is a “No” that means it’s not for you. It’s either broken (trash/recycle), or in good shape but you don’t want it but it could bless someone else (Donate or sell).

Check out our latest Free Resource, all about organizing your home to support your goals for this year!

Daily Re-set: easy habits that help you keep up all of your hard work:

What to do after you declutter a room? Start building habits that support a lifestyle of clutter freedom.

After a big clean out ( or a gradual clean out over time), now is your chance to create habits that support your new organized lifestyle. Instead of a big yearly organizing event that’s exhausting, you’re going to focus on the daily/weekly maintenance of what you’ve just created.

One easy habit I love is a home reset every night. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes each evening and tackle those spots in your home that seem to gather random stuff. Put those things back where they live. Remember, you’ve now made this part easy for yourself in your initial room clean out where you made a home for all the things you want to keep.

Things like mail, school papers, and toys might stray from where they’re supposed to be, but in a quick re-set each night they’ll be back where they belong! (and get the whole fam- kids included- to help you with this so they too can have pride of ownership in their home)

A note: If you haven’t taken the step first to edit/purge/find a home for your things in a clean out, the home re-set might be a bit frustrating (because you don’t have a home for things), so take the time to do that clean out. It’s okay if it’s room by room, or gradual- it’s worth doing however you can make it happen!

Doing that nightly re-set is a great way for your home to support your future self. Think about it- how will you feel/start your day if you wake up to a kitchen that’s clean, coffee already brewed and waiting for you, kids lunchboxes set out ready for them? Instead of waking up to overflowing dishes, trying to find the stupid coffee filters, kids running around yelling “mom, mom! I can’t find my lunchbox”? To me that’s the difference between starting my day feeling empowered and starting feeling behind. All from a simple 20 minute home reset the night before! You can do this.

And yes, things will get messed up. That’s okay- that’s LIFE, so let’s plan for it! Perfection is not the goal- the goal is a do-able system that helps you re-set your room quickly when things get out of sorts. All that system is: finding a home for all the things you want to keep and putting them there every time. Getting rid of what shouldn’t stay.

By taking the time to do a clean out of your home, room by room, and supporting your hard work with daily home re-sets, you will soon see a change in your living space (and your life!) that makes you feel more empowered and less overwhelmed- and you can use your time now to work on those things that matter most to you instead of constantly re-organizing your space every January! Here’s to an empowered home for 2022. Happy Organizing!

Me, Mid Clean-Out of my old studio space! See, we all gotta start somewhere!
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